some fairly sensible advice please

Right have recently failed RCB and have been told a second attempt (in a years time) would probably end in failure. But the army is still where I want to be so a visit to the careers office is on the horizon, so should I admit to my attempt at RCB or keep quiet.

(Posted in here because this forum seems to attract the highest proportion of sensible advice)

So may the advice and vitriolic abuse flow
If you are not asked about it, why bring it up?

Have you thought about joining your local TA unit, who may be able to help address the 'issues' which caused you not to be successful?

A visit to the Career's office? Do you intend to enlist as a regular soldier and not try for commission again? If so, well done - mentioning your attempt at RCB will not harm you IMO as long as you didn't f*ck up massively.

Then again - there is no real reason to tell them either but I imagine they will ask whether you have thought about Officer training. You may as well tell the truth then at least you'll have nothing to hide later on.

Best of luck bud.
Dont lower Your standards dude. Better yourself Get some civdiv life down your neck and go back and Pass!

As much as we give them grief where its due i would rather be a rupert Not stagging on and getting more money than a tom in the rain on "PooPay"


Hmmm. Sensible advice...

If you want to be an officer, there is certainly no shame - and actually enormous merit - in joining as a soldier and attempting to crack it via that route. Some of the best officers I've met have done it and succeeded beyond all their expectations. There is no reason why you shouldn't tell the AFCO that you've failed RCB once: I don't suppose it will affect matters at all. If you don't succeed as an officer, you will be on the early rungs of a worthwhile career as a soldier/NCO/WO; alternatively you will have gained experience which is generally seen as a considerable plus in the civilian jobs market (provided you have other qualities as well!). If you do succeed, you have a head start at Snadhurst, and a heightened appreciation of what you're putting your soldiers through.

I'd call it a win-win situation.
Be very clear - it's hard work getting yourself commissioned from the ranks since not only do you have to overcome the prejudice amongst the ranks but you have to get the Rodneys to take notice and do something sensible about putting you forward for consideration ! That's not to say you shouldn't try but if you want to be an officer, look at the comments RCB gave you, work on improving yourself and then get back in there. If you want to be a soldier then get into the AFCO and sign on the line ... but be clear in your own head that it is what you want because I've seen disheartened soldiers who have not been picked up for commission through the ranks and they ain't making many friends on either side of the fence.
Can you give us a bit more info? How did you do at Pre-RCB? Why were you told you'd fail a second time round? How old are you and when do you want to join the Army (after Uni, etc)?
What i would recomend you do is look in to joining up as an nco and do mention that you have failed rcb in the initial interview. Explore the possibility of going for an L.E and talk this through with the careers advisor, granted its not guaranteed but other people have done it in the past and there is no reason whatsoever to stop you suceeding as well. You strike me as being some one who seems to be quite switched on, have you considered some of the technical corps? reme for example where you could go down the tiffy route and could be a staffy in rapid time compared to other disciplines before going for an L.E or leaving after 22 years and applying your trade in civvy street and also have a half decent pension and resetlement grant to tide you over. Hopefully other people out there might be able to correct me but at one time i believe the royal green jackets actively encouraged people to join up do a few years then go to sandhurst. From a regimental point of view they got back an officer who did not have to adjust himself so much to fit in with the reg and not so wet behindthe ears as an ordinary subby e.t.c. From your own perspective if you went down the nco route ( not necessarily with the RGJ ) and then went to sandhurst, you would be streets ahead of all the other intake members. You would be fit as f##k, have humongus levels of confidence, the expierience of a tour or two under your belt ,weapons, general turnout etc would be second nature to you. Most importantly of all though if an officer is to be effective he needs to work with his men to get the best out of them, if you went in as a private and an officer did some thing in the barracks or exercise that pissed of the platoon- call him a kno bber(behind his back) like the rest of them but learn from it and when you hopefully get to the command appointment remeber what pissed you off so much and strive not to repeat it. An AAC major told me that one, he started off at the rank of rifleman in the RGJ and is up for LT COL sometime early next year. He also said that if anyone wanted to be an infantry officer he would strongly recomend that the think about joining as an nco or at the least go into the T.A for a spell as a private.

sorry if i have slightly veered off at a tangent at any point but i hope this has been useful to you but at the end of the day only you can you can make up your mind.

best of luck.
Yazoo, just out of curiosity, were you told why you had failed? This may help with any advice you are given here.

CP's comments are also smack on, there are equally fulfilling careers out there as a non com. Remember, officers only suggest the way to go, NCO's convert it to reality :)

It is also far easier (stop the slagging right now, I am not suggesting that the standards have been lowered, simply the obstacles that were historically in the way in previous years have now been removed) for non com soldiers to be commissioned from the ranks. A soldier that was my section commander in basic (Corporal by rank, that explanation is for Yazoos benefit by the way so no snidey comments about understanding the rank structure) is now a full Colonel and destined to go further, a soldier that I drank a lot of my life away with in NI has recenty been bumped from RSM to Orrifice (deservedly) at an historically early age, the examples are out there and are becoming more common. If you are good enough, it will happen.

Regardless of your choice, good luck. Whether it be Sandhurst or a Depot, remember this. There are two types of men in life, those who served and those who wish that they had.


Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
I failed RCB in 1981 and was advised to come back after a year. I didn't I went around the world. I also stayed on in the TA and was eventually commissioned in that.

I considered joining the army in the ranks but I was having too good a time as a Civy and getting my military kick from part time soldiering. With hindsight I wish I had joined the RAF in the ranks but so thats something you might want to consider. Good luck with whatever you decide to do
In this modern age of technological electrickery I can assure you that as soon as your name gets entered into the system, you file will come up with your attempt at RCB and result. Integrity is a key thing in the army and I would suggest that if you do not mention it prior to the ACIO finding it, you would not be off to a winning start. There is nothing to stop you enlisting as a private soldier and it may iron out issues that caused you to not to be successful this time around. This leads on to you applying from the ranks for a commission. This is not unheard of and I am currently serving with a bloke who commissioned from the AAC and came over to the winning team in the Infantry.

Good advice reference joining TA but some units do get a little shirty if they know you are there only looking for a commission in the Regulars. However during my time Officer Recruiting, I recommended that chaps that didn't quite make it go spend some time with the TA. It also depends on what stage of life you are at. Post Uni or Pre Uni? Or perhaps you join us Thickie Non Grads in sacking the whole thing off? If Pre Uni, go to Uni and join UOTC. If post Uni, TA will be the way for you if you are still keen on going to RMAS.

Thanks to everyone who replied and offered some useful advice.

For those who asked about more details I'm a grad who had a few years of the real world before that so I'm now 25 and the idea of hanging about for a year for another attempt isn't that attractive.

Don't know why I failed yet only had very brief voicemail from sponser who's fooked off for christmas. So it'll be a week or so till I get all the details.

Have been looking into some of the more techie trades fancy something that'll stand me in good stead back in civi street.

It'd be the year wait that swung it for me - you'd be 26 and the latest you can apply to the Army is 27 (I think, someone please correct me if that's wrong!). To find out then that you'd failed RCB a second time may put the stoppers on the whole thing. I'd join the ranks if I were you mate. I failed an RCB and the year wait almost killed me - had I not had age on my side, I would have signed up straight away! Definitely mention your RCB attempt if your interviewer asks anything remotely like "have you applied to join the services before". It's definitely NOT something to be ashamed of - I found RCB bloody difficult the first time around!

Good luck.
Cheers 1Windy1 that was the way I was looking at it.

Waiting a year and possibly missing out on the career I've always wanted. not a great option. Good to see I'm not the only one who's mind works like this
A DE guy on my TA CC was 36.



All good advice so far, but the reason for failure is key. If you failed because of something that you can work to improve, then it is probably worth waiting and joining the TA in the meantime. You will get a good insight, and improve your fitness before you attempt RCB/Sandhurst again at age 26. If your reason for failure is not skills based, but something which will not be easy to improve (personality or leadership potential - only you will know that!) then get yourself to the ACIO.

If you follow the commission from the ranks route, you will probably age bar yourself: Waiting to start, then 6 months basic, then trade training, then a few years at regimental duty while you practice your trade (and are being assessed for officer potential), RCB, Sandhurst, YOs course. You would be unlikely to start as a Platoon or Troop commander much before 30, and would have very little time left at low level command before you start on basic staff jobs to try and catch up with your age group.

Both routes are very worthwhile and rewarding, so do not shortchange yourself by starting life behind the power curve. As a mid 20's private soldier you should show a level of maturity and responsibility which will allow you to develop the NCO route quickly.
Amen to the Duke's advice. Remember not everybody is right for a commission. That isn't necessarily a bad thing. RCB know what they want so don't sweat it. As a 25 yr old grad you definitely need something to stretch your mind so if you do join up as a Tom good luck to you but choose your trade wisely because as as soon as you sign the line (apart from a 4 week window in your basic training) you are in for four years and believe you me, being a bright guy in the wrong job until you are 29 is a one way ticket to a broken spirit. So find out why you ploughed in and if is not a readily correctable issue then seriously consider a radical change of career direction. Bon chance!
Don't really think there's a Yes/No answer to your situation, as other people have pointed out. Comes down, I suppose to how much you want to be a Rupert and how much chance you realistically think you have a chance of passing the Board at a second crack (need to speak to Sponsor). Wouldn't worry too much about age for going to RMAS, but do think about age on Commissioning, when considering your choice of arm, if you get that far. Older candidates are often steered away from Teeth arms, talk to some Regts and think about whether you want to go along with that or would fit in in an Inf mess as a significantly older subby.
But it can be done, and the Board process is not perfect; on balance it gets good people for the Army, and RMAS is over-subscribed, so that's considered good enough. A bloke I knew in the TA, failed TCB aged about 23 due to 'attitude'; went back to TCB aged 25 and passed, commissioned into TA, served for a couple of years; went to RCB aged 27, failed (and like most older candidates it was a straight fail, not encouraged to come back, as the Board assumes you're set in your ways by that age and won't respond to RMAS), thought about it, stayed with the TA for another 12 months or so, went back to RCB aged 28, passed. Went to RMAS on next intake and is now a YO in the Gunners (well, beggars can't be choosers ;) ).
Your call.

Similar threads

Latest Threads